January 13, 2020

Will we make the ONLY “freedom of the PRESS” argument in this case?

Do you have a “freedom of the PRESS” right?

Our legal brief could restore to you the same free press rights the New York Times has Retweet

We intend to file an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review a 9th Circuit decision in an election law case.

The case is NAGR vs. Magdan. The filing deadline is January 15th. We hope you will contribute to make this amicus brief a reality. We will make arguments based on…

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of press
  • The right to speak anonymously
  • Freedom of association
  • The Citizens United decision

For two decades, we’ve done pioneering, special work on press and anonymity in election and campaign finance law. This case is a continuation of those efforts to “educate the court.” Here’s the core issue…

If a 501(c)(4) (a non-profit like DownsizeDC.org) spends more than $250 while mentioning the name of a federal candidate, does this require them to start recording and filing donor information as if the (c)(4) was a political committee?

Please note, Downsize DC would be considered a “political committee,” so the 9th Circuit ruling in this case directly threatens us, and you.

Please use this secure form to make a TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contribution, via our partner, the Downsize DC Foundation and…

Make this Free Press amicus a reality


The first Supreme Court campaign finance ruling, the infamous Buckley v. Valeo, created two kinds of political expenditures/contributions…

  • Issue advocacy which deals with a policy issue or legislative bill
  • Express advocacy aimed at electing or defeating a clearly identified candidate

Campaign finance regulation is supposed to govern express advocacy, NOT issue advocacy. Later, the McCain Feingold bill created a third “hybrid” category — “electioneering communication.” This applied to communications that…

A.  Were of a broadcast nature
B.  Happened during the period before an election
C.  Mentioned a candidate in conjunction with an issue, but without expressly arguing for or against the candidate

Downsize DC joined with Ron Paul and Citizens United to fight this new incumbent protection scheme. But we were defeated in the McConnell case. Now…

The state of Montana wants to impose political committee status on a much broader range of organizations than the McCain-Feingold bill or the McConnell decision ever envisioned. They want any (c)(4) that…

  • spends over $250
  • mentions a candidate by name

…to file as a political committee. Please note:

The (c)(4) doesn’t have to engage in either express advocacy or electioneering communication in order to trigger the requirement!

We want the Supreme Court to…

  • Reject the Ninth Circuit’s view that the mere mention of a candidate’s name is enough to trigger a reporting requirement, absent either express advocacy or even electioneering communication.
  • Protect the right of the people to peacefully assemble and associate in order to exercise their (expensive) right to operate a press (or broadcast operation).
  • Protect the right of people to express opinions anonymously, without exposing their identity to The State, as is currently required by the campaign finance laws.

We want to point out that the logic of the Montana law, properly applied, would require every news organization in the country to file as a political committee. A sound ruling in this Montana-focused case would have a profound impact on federal law. Victory for our argument could help you to enjoy the same freedom of the press right as the New York Times. Please help us fund this brief.

DownsizeDC.org partners with the Downsize DC Foundation (home of the Zero Aggression Project) so that your contributions can be tax-deductible. When you click the button above, you’ll be taken to the Zero Aggression Project contribution form.

Jim Babka, President
& Downsize DC Foundation

If your comment is off-topic for this post, please email us at feedback@downsizedc.org


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